A MATCHED COHORT STUDY OF FEEDING PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR INFANTS WEIGHING LESS THAN 1,500 G
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PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of clinical practice guidelines (CPG) for the nutritional management of infants weighing < 1,500 g. SUBJECTS: Infants weighing < 1,500 g (n = 200) admitted to the NICU who had no major congenital anomalies were enrolled. DESIGN AND METHODS: A before-and-after matched cohort study was conducted during 1996/1997 and 1998/1999 enrolling infants in a Standard Practice (SP) group and CPG group, respectively. Weight-stratified CPG were introduced between these 2 study periods. Data on the first 100 babies who could be matched for birth weight and gestational age were analyzed. Data collection continued until full feedings were established and tolerated for 48 hours or the infant was discharged from the hospital, whichever came first. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURE: Of the 200 infants in the study (median gestational age 28 weeks), 142 infants attained full feedings. The median time to full feedings was 15 days in both groups, and a paired sample t test showed no significant difference between the 2 groups (P = 0.35). PRINCIPAL RESULTS: No statistically significant differences in the age of feeding commencement, number of feeding interruptions, days on total parenteral nutrition, days to regain birth weight, age at discharge, incidence of sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, or use of erythromycin were found. CONCLUSIONS: The CPG was a safe alternative to standardize nutritional practices in the NICU. The lack of differences between groups shown in this study is likely related to gut immaturity limiting the infant's response to changes in feeding practices, inconsistent use of the guidelines, confounding factors, the small sample size, or the similarity between SP and the CPG.